Tuesday, December 13, 2011
RASPUTIN: THE MAD MONK (1966)
Christopher Lee gets to play a villain a little bit different than the Dracula's and Frankenstein monsters that he normally did in this one. Here he plays a monk who seems to have some supernatural healing and hypnotic powers as well as being a nifty dancer. I like the way this film starts out since old Rasputin is portrayed basically as a long-haired drunken part-animal who then turns into a bit of a woman-beating rapist. After this he's kicked out of his monastery and goes about climbing the social ladder using his charms and spooky powers. We're never really told exactly what the hell his powers really are so basically he's just an evil dude. The rest of the movie pretty much plays out like the more typical Hammer films of this time with the monster doing naughty things until he's tricked into getting himself killed. Not the best or worst from Hammer but an OK time-waster and you get a hand chopped off, acid thrown in the face, a slit-wrist suicide and just about the most G-rated sex scene I've ever seen.
Director Don Sharp would go on to make the great zombie biker flick PSYCHOMANIA. RASPUTIN was released in America on a double-bill with THE REPTILE and you got a free clip-on beard. Not sure how that was supposed to protect you from Rasputin but that's the gimmick they went with.